“It’s the end of the world!” Well, it is almost certainly the end of anime, tragic as that may seem to some of us.
It is a widespread belief that the world that we know will come to a sticky end. Today it is “global warming”, when I was a child it was “nuclear winter”. We simply don’t know what will do us in, but we feel that the current civilization is living on the edge of the abyss.
Since I write in English, my readers are probably vaguely aware of the Christian “apocalypse” (the Revelation of St John) which predicts a horrifying end to the current world, and the establishment of a new and vastly better. They may even remember that Judaism makes a similar claim (book of Daniel). They may have heard that the ancient Mayans likewise predicted a sudden end to the world, although recent research has found a calendar continuing after 2012, so that date may be off.
But you may not know that the old Norse religion of the Vikings also predicted a future destruction of this world (in Voluspa) and the birth of a new and innocent one. Even the Hindu religion predicts that the world will go to the dogs and start over fresh, although they believe this happens cyclically over immense eons of time; still, the end of the current age should not be that far away.
Perhaps this global agreement simply stems from the observation that young people are not living up to the standards of their parents and grandparents, as already the ancient Egyptians noticed. But in the cases I know the best (Christianity, Judaism and the Norse Asatru) the disaster was foretold by prophets.
Now there are always people going around claiming THE END IS NIGH! so that doesn’t say much.But these prophets were deemed credible by those who listened to them. They seemed otherwise sane or even more than sane: They would predict things that actually came to pass in the near future as well, or reveal secrets, or speak with such clarity and coherence and wide sweep of knowledge that people sensed that not just were these people sane, they had a supernatural wisdom. They were each someone their people looked up to. These were the men and women who foretold a dramatic end to the world.
I believe that mystics through the ages have told of the same event, but it is not actually a physical destruction. Rather, it is the destruction of the human mind as we know it, in the sudden emergence of the New Mind, the Human Operating System version 3, on a global scale.
In my previous entry, I pointed out that humans like us once had no culture, no language, no art and seemingly no imagination. Then, at a speed many times faster than biological evolution – so fast that it seems to have spread like a rapid contagion – they either converted to the current way of being human, or died out. Every single one of them. It was the end of their world. I believe it is going to happen again. Not just because the prophets of three continents (at least) have foretold it, but because it is our only hope.
When population density reached a critical level for the hand-axe people, a change happened in their way of thinking that made it possible for them to exist together. Through the new practice of talking, they were able to organize larger groups and more complex societies, with specialization. Their newfound creativity allowed them to use resources that were not available before. We have continued down that path, but no matter what branch of human endeavor you look at, change is happening faster and faster. We are headed for a singularity, as if the river of time has gone from a leisurely flood to foaming rapids and is heading for a waterfall. Or as if the water that was slowly warming is starting to bubble and will soon boil the frog that has adapted to the heat until now.
We no longer need prophets to tell us that the world we know will change beyond recognition. But most of us still don’t know what is going to end and what is going to begin. Like the ancient mystics, I believe that what must necessarily change is our mind, because the old mind cannot handle the world we are beginning to live in. We need to level up.
Why is this a disaster? Isn’t it a good thing if we rise to a higher level of consciousness? Yes, if you ask those who have actually experienced this as an individual, they will tell you that it was the best thing that ever happened to them, without a doubt. But they can also tell you of the fear and confusion they faced, of the total sacrificed they were called to make before entering into the new life. It is hard for almost everyone to give up everything they own. But to give up everything you ARE, this seems like death itself.
The old world will not be happy to just lie down and die. Despite our best preparations, I don’t think we can awaken the New Mind in everyone at the same time. And while at least the early users of Human Operating System version 3 will be able to understand those with H.O.S. v.2, this is not mutual. Watching every institution crumble, every tradition, every nation and power of the old order, they will not feel they have much to lose. They will find themselves in the spot of the Neanderthals, and not everyone will yield their world peacefully.
Add to this the destruction of the natural world which will have been wrought by mankind in the last stages of the current world order. We have already eradicated many species, with new ones following on a more or less daily basis. The climate is getting erratic. Rapid communications means terrifying diseases like Ebola or SARS can spread around the world in weeks, each of them capable of killing a majority of us. It seems that we have to either change or die. And the change, as I said, will seem only marginally less like the end of the world than would death.
The afore mentioned prophet Daniel has a description (based on a dream by someone else, strangely) which describes it better than I could:
“While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.“
Daniel then explains that the huge statue was the civilization that descended from Babylon. At some point, an outside force of a completely different nature will hit and utterly demolish it, taking its place and growing even much larger.
There can certainly be different interpretations to what this means – the Jews thought it was the nation of Israel which would conquer and destroy the other nations, while various Christian churches have thought it referred to them or to the Return of Christ. Not saying anything against it – a good text should have several layers of meaning – but one understanding that actually makes a lot of sense is that it is the next version of the Human Operating System. For make no mistake: Just as the world of handaxes and simple instinctive language has passed utterly from Earth, so the world of cultures and nations will be forgotten once the next version of humanity becomes the norm.
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.
(Indeed, the reason why I wrote about this in the first place in 2005 was that my world seemed to be nearing its end. I had a temporary cancer diagnosis (was later rescinded) and the relevant hospital staff had summer vacation for a couple months, which would have been plenty of time for a fast-growing cancer to establish itself. So I listened to this Japanese song, The End of the World by Angela, where she says (in Japanese): People are bewildered that life must end, and time strikes them harshly. But even if this world ends today, I will still protect you. And I thought, if my world ends, how can I protect my friends through the time that will come? So I decided to write it down, even though it was still not quite clear to me.)
Here’s the song The End of The World on YouTube, as long as it lasts.